- SEASON START & END: December to late April
- SKI ALTITUDE: 1100-2600m / Vertical Drop- 1500m in one resort
- PISTES: 55% Beginner / 34% Intermediate / 11% Expert
- LIFTS: 49
- SLOPES: 84 Pistes for a total of 125KM
- CROSS-COUNTRY: 108 KM of cross-country ski trails
- SNOW: 215 snow cannons creating 185 acres of artificial snow covering
- LIFT TICKET 2018/19 : Adult 38,40€ day pass / 205€ 6 days
- LANGUAGE: French
- AIRPORT: Geneva 50km – 50mins / Lyon 158km – 1:50 hours
- TRAIN: TGV rail station at Annecy 33km – 40 minutes
- SKI FACTS: La Clusaz is part of the Domaine des Aravis ski area which includes Le Grand-Bornand, Manigod and Saint-Jean-de-Sixt. It consists of 5 Massifs (compact group of mountains)
La Clusaz is a traditional Savoyard village and possibly one of the most picturesque mountain villages in France. The village has not lost its old world charm with a traditional square, classic Savoyard church and winding streets fanning out from the square; very different from many of the purpose built resorts of the Alps. The village has a great selection of rustic restaurants where one must experience the local Reblochon cheese and other local farm produce. There is still a sense of local community here and there is usually a busy schedule of events that visitors can experience from torch lit descents to the outdoor market every Monday at La Place de L’Eglise. Local restaurants worth checking out include Restaurant Les 2 Mules and La Calèche or La Fruitière. As for hotels we can recommend the 4 star hotel and spa St. Alban and for self-catering the four-star Residence Mendi Alde is rather good.
The skiing of La Clusaz is spread over 5 mountain areas or Massifs. Whilst the ski area might look like it is predominantly for beginners and intermediates, I found that there was a lot more expert skiing than I expected. The area has also produced a lot of world famous freeride skiers, so it goes without saying that there is a lot of good quality off-piste as well. Due to the altitude there are a mixture of above and below the tree-line skiing which is always good. Despite the traditional village, the mountain is very forward thinking concerning its snowsports, thus attracting the Telemark World Championships and Freestyle World Championships.
La Clusaz is part of the large Domaine des Aravis ski area which includes Le Grand-Bornand, Manigod and Saint-Jean-de-Sixt covering a total of 133 pistes/210km. These various resorts are all linked by a shuttle system. For some outstanding views head to the top of Col de Balme from where you can look across to Mont Blanc, there are also several ski resorts that one can see, which ones can you spy from up here?
Some of the best areas for beginner green and blue pistes are to be found over in the Massif de Beauregard leading into the Massif de Manigod area. This is a great area for families with many fun pistes where the kids can ski. The Massif de l’Aiguille has a collection of great blue runs back to the resort centre as well.
Let the whole mountain be your playground. Intermediates can pretty much travel throughout the whole ski area. The red pistes of Massif de Balme, Massif de l’Aiguille and Massif de L’Etale provide a lot of entertainment.
There may not be a lot of Black pistes on the map, but the ones that exist are a good length, and some of the reds can feel more like black when hard packed and bumpy. There is still a lot of great skiing to be had for the expert skier.
-OFF PISTE –
La Clusaz has been a hotbed for freeride talent such as Candide Thovex, Guy Périllat, Edgar Grospiron, Raphaëlle Monod & Loïc Collomb-Patton culminating in over 10 world champions. The area supports and promotes freeride skiing with three of the schools (ESF, ESI and Evolution2) running freeride programmes to teach not only techniques but safety and awareness in the mountains too. Many of the cols along the Aravis range provide great opportunities for off piste exploration. The Balme, known as Candide Thovex’ back garden is the ideal spot for backcountry skiing; a giant, natural snow park with an endless succession of domes, step-ups and hip jumps.
La Clusaz area 1100-2600m / Vertical Drop 1500m
Total 125km of piste – 16 Green / 31 Blue / 29 Red / 7 Black
Lift system 49 total – Gondola-5 / Chair lifts-16 / Drag lifts-28
The skiing of La Clusaz is mostly spread along part of the Chain de Aravis mountain range which is quite a spectacular line of mountains as you look along the row of peaks and imagine the terrific power that threw these beautiful mountains up. I particularly enjoyed skiing around the Massif de Balme and Massif de l’Aiguille, with their North-West facing the slopes the snow keeps pretty well. It was fun to head off and explore the Massif de Manigold and Massif de L’Etale with their forests but make sure you leave enough time and energy for the long piste L’Envers back to La Clusaz.
As for some unique experiences, If you happen to be there for the Full Moon Party then definitely go skiing at night, there is skiing by light on the Massif de l’Aiguille side, however the Massif de Beauregard provides true skiing by Moonlight! A thrilling experience, make sure to ‘Use the Force Luke’ on this side, the alternative is to stop by one of the bars and fill up on local juice that seems to improve one’s night vision. Another way to experience the resort is by Paragliding with Evolution2 La Clusaz; a truly unforgettable feeling, to be soaring through the air over La Clusaz with skis strapped to your feet. Once back on solid, snowy ground, it is worth checking out the delicious mountain food at Restaurant La Ferme or L’Esperluette in Manigod.